On the face of it, it looks like Kasabian can do no wrong. And with the constant waves of acclaim, impressive chart positions and high-profile arena tours and festival slots handed to them on silver platters, it definitely wouldn’t harm them if they did. Honestly, it’s probably a good job with new album For Crying Out Loud, because that fact is pretty much all that can be taken from it.
This is clearly Kasabian’s jump into ‘more experimental’ territory – For Crying Out Loud is frenetic and directionless, and it’s not due to any misguidedness. It’s simply because they can be. There’s something so cocky and irritating about this fact (not that Kasabian have ever shied away from embracing that side of their personalities) that it soon becomes all you notice when you listen to this album, especially in Tom Meighan’s vocals. In fact, it’s Meighan’s voice that’s the biggest turn off on Twentyfourseven – a song that also has a stomp / handclap-led middle eight and echoey vocal effects.
Guitarist and principal songwriter Serge Pizzorno thanked a songwriting ‘epiphany’ for his being able to produce this album in six weeks. To be honest, it sounds like it should’ve taken a lot less. Any ideas here are clearly intended to be pushed until they run out of steam, but Kasabian are obviously very poor at judging when to stop. Wasted is a good example, with an initially underwhelming acoustic-guitar led format being dragged out for four and a half minutes.
But these moments pale in comparison to the multiple on For Crying Out Loud that are so exasperating you want to smash your head against a brick wall. It’s shocking that Sixteen Blocks, a song that’s essentially a nursery rhyme with a sort of ska / country guitar accompaniment, not only made the final cut of this album, but passed through quality control in the first place. The biggest abomination, though, is far and away Are You Looking For Action?. It’s essentially Meighan simpering over a 90s guitar-led dance song. It’s trying so hard to make listeners reminisce about the ‘glory days’ when the Hacienda was a club and not a block of flats. And it goes on for eight-and-a-half minutes! Who in their right mind thought this was necessary?
Unsurprisingly, this album’s best moments are the ones that have a bit more of a kick to them. While Bless This Acid House still follows the streamlined one-track format, it’s got punchy guitars and just the right amount of laddishness to be listenable. Lead single You’re In Love With A Psycho is enough to be semi-catchy, but it’s bewildering how such a bland song could be chosen as a lead single for an album.
As a cohesive listen, For Crying Out Loud makes no sense. When you throw in aspects of as many different genres as Kasabian have here and still manage to make such a flat record, there’s obviously something wrong. Any cuts aired from this album during their Reading and Leeds headline sets this summer are sure to be the filler people stick around for so they can hear Fire. As mentioned before, there’s no way this is going to affect them. It’s a shame really, because this record is bonafide evidence that they’ve well and truly lost their mojo.
For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘For Crying Out Loud’ by Kasabian is out now on Sony Music Entertainment.